Jul 16, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Secret Service over deleted texts

Photo: Al Drago/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Jan. 6 select committee subpoenaed the U.S. Secret Service late Friday night for information on deleted text messages from Jan. 5 and 6 that were flagged by an agency watchdog this week.

Why it matters: The committee believes the texts may be relevant to its investigation of former President Trump's actions as violence unfolded at the Capitol and in the days leading up to the riot.

  • In past hearings, Secret Service agents have been cited as witnesses to key events on that day involving Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence.
  • "They were positioned to secure the vice president, the president, and we just need to know all the available information from all the sources as to what happened," Committee Chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) told reporters on Friday, before the subpoena.

Driving the news: Thompson sent Secret Service Director James M. Murray a letter outlining the committee's request and setting a July 19 deadline.

  • Thompson noted that the Department of Homeland Security's inspector general said the texts were deleted as part of a “device-replacement program."
  • He also cited the Secret Service's response that the deletions were the result of a "pre-planned, three-month system migration" and that “none of the texts it [DHS Office of Inspector General] was seeking had been lost in the migration.”
  • Thompson wrote that the panel "seeks the relevant text messages, as well as any after action reports that have been issued in any and all divisions of the USSS pertaining or relating in any way to the events of January 6, 2021."

The context: The move comes after the inspector general, Joseph Cuffari, met with the committee members on Friday morning.

  • "We needed to talk about [Cuffari's] perspective on what impediments he had encountered," Thompson said.
  • Thompson added the committee is trying to "ascertain if those texts can be resurrected."
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